Lemons with a pink flesh and green-and-yellow-striped skin are among the hybrids grown in the orchards of the Limoneira Company, which just finalized an agreement with Goleta-based Apeel Sciences to bathe its fruit with Apeel’s edible coating that extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

Limoneira — which has been based in Santa Paula since 1893 and now has 11,800 acres of agricultural lands, real estate properties, and water rights between California, Arizona, Chile, and Argentina — ships its produce around the world. In a press release, the company stated the Apeel-coated lemons retained their quality and color for longer, compared to other coatings.

Limoneira’s corporate headquarters in Santa Paula | Credit: Courtesy

Apeel was founded in 2012 by James Rogers, a materials scientist formerly at UC Santa Barbara, who wanted to increase the amount of harvests that turn into food, instead of waste, globally. The Edipeel coating is made of plant lipids, or plant oils, found in fruits and vegetables. It extends the life of produce such as avocados, apples, and citrus by retaining moisture and reducing oxidation.

The deal — the value of which was not expressed — comes just after Apeel laid off 105 people, this following an increase in capital of $250 million in 2021. The layoffs were said to be due to “growing pains” as the company “right-sized” itself after a decade of growth.

Apeel may now have an exclusive license with Limoneira, but it doesn’t have exclusive use of its name. Recently, online tweets warned that “Apeel” could not be washed off and was harmful, ranging into conspiracy-theory territory by claiming Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum were involved. The product in the tweets, however, was a surface cleaner made by England’s Evans Vanodine. The report appeared in an Associated Press fact-checking article in April.

“There was recently some confusion caused by misleading information that circulated on social media via the distribution of a safety information sheet for a cleaning agent using the trade name ‘Apeel’ being mistaken for our product,” said a spokesperson for Goleta’s Apeel. “We are in no way associated with the company that manufactures that product.” Additional information about the safety of Apeel’s product can be found here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Limoneira has 24,000 acres in Ventura County; they currently have 11,800 acres of agricultural lands, real estate properties, and water rights between California, Arizona, Chile, and Argentina.


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